Who Will Benefit from the National Animal ID System?

| 3/11/2009 3:45:14 PM

Tags: NAIS, sustainable farms, industrial agriculture, food and agriculture policy,

The National Animal Identification System — what exactly will it mean for small- and medium-size farmers? By now you’ve likely heard our thoughts on the subject (in The Truth About the Animal ID Plan, and Speak Out Against NAIS), but here’s a number-crunching look at how NAIS will affect New York farmer Shannon Hayes, from yesterday’s op-ed in The New York Times.

3/16/2009 4:13:51 PM

Yes-- Clearly, there's no reason to trust the gov't with another beaurocratic program when they don't bother to enforce the regs they already have. See the peanut butter fiasco-- a whole slew of past violations went unremediated, unpublicized, and unpunished. At best, at very best, it's a well-intentioned idea that got co-opted right out of the gate. I'm sure you don't need me to put out the conspiracy-theory alternative possibilities. Scream all you want. Write angry letters. Fine. Whatever. IT DOESN'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM!!!! Come on, ladies and gentlemen. I have great respect for the MEN community. Y'all are a bunch of can-do types with great practical intelligence. You have inspired me no end in the few months I've been hanging around here. Given new initiative and new hope to a cynical Rust Belt brat married to a lazy, stuck-in-his-ways soon-to-be EX-suburbanite. If you can do that, you can do anything. I'm still waiting for the glimmers of practical solutions I can write my representatives with. I'm not asking for brilliant ideas here-- just some "This is what we can do instead" suggestions. One thing I've learned running around with NeoPagans-- anger is a great motivator, but by itself it doesn't get anything accomplished. The guys in Washington are dumb. They're waiting for someone to tell them what to do. The big business lobbyists are always willing to step in, tell them what to do, and make it attractive into the bargain. Changing the system may or may not be a waste of time... ...but, if we all work together so that everyone's investment of time is minimal (it's chore season, even for a back-yard gardener like me), we have (hopefully) nothing to lose by trying.

ed zyskowski
3/14/2009 9:10:51 PM

Livestock tracking? For what purpose? Illness tracking? Please !!! As humans go we can't even properly track the flu! Now they need to track animals?!!?? Sure! If the tracking was meant for good but I doubt it. Every day more and more freedoms are cut into.... More and more family farms have to answer for what??? This angers me just as the big brother attitude I've seen so many times as of late angers me. Bird flu, pig flu... I have very little to say about RFID chips and NAIS.... Do I trust the government in regards to this ? NO !!!! Case in point. PLUM ISLAND Do your homework, especially in NY State. I've experienced their handiwork. From what my household went through (and this sounds like X-Files) "Trust No One." Of course... I could be wrong and all they want to track is animal flatulence. (Maybe they should start in Congress.)

3/12/2009 1:20:30 PM

I'm hoping I'll find at least half a dozen solutions, or the suggestions thereof, that I can include in my next letter to my representatives (and, probably more productively, in my next letter to Mr. and Mrs. Blue-Collar America, aka Mom and Dad). Because those people DO care. They work HARD. They were a force for social change back in their day, and they still have that force in their hearts and their hands. They're willing to make change, and to make changes. As I've said before, they just have to see that it's both possible and practicable, and be given the rudiments of how to do it.

3/12/2009 1:16:10 PM

These are just a few thoughts-- and I apologize that they're not well-framed or well-spoken or pleasant to listen to given my frame of mind. I think it's worth wading through that to consider them. Why??? Not because I'm bloody brilliant-- far from it. Because I'm in an interesting position, and one that I'd like to see more people in because it would mean real change is on the way. I'm trying to move from being Mrs. American-- shops almost exclusively at WalMart, spends 10-15% on food, 40-50% on housing (morgage plus maintainance), 20-30% on utilities, about 15% on transportation (purchase plus maintainance plus fuel)-- to being Mrs. Something Better. I have to do it in stages... ...and I have to do it while dealing with a spouse, let's Mr. White-Collar American, who does not see the point of a lot of the transition, and while living with the consequences of choices that were made before or in the early stages of the transition. I'm not asking for understanding for sympathy's sake. "Sympathy" is a word in the dictionary between "shit" and "syphilis". It makes you feel better but gets you nowhere. I'm asking for understanding because there are millions of people in either my current or former position-- struggling to make the change work, or interested in making the change but unwilling to start walking 'cause it seems unsustainable (it's more than just an environmental word; it also means a way of living that people both can and will continue over the long term with, for the most part, the resources at their disposal). I'm asking for solutions. They're not going to come from On High. They're going to come from practical-minded people who care-- in short, people like the MEN readership. Y'all-- and me, too, when I'm not thinking defeatist crap like I am today. I'll be back in a couple of days, and hopefully in a better frame of mind. I

3/12/2009 12:38:04 PM

With that really depressing thought in mind, some days I wonder if the best we can realistically do is to accept an unethical, inhumane, and fundamenatally unsustainable industry and regulate it-- like this-- heavily and watch it constantly, basically like the criminal it is. I know I'm in a bitter and cynical mood today, and that nothing good is going to come from my hands. Otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here. But those statements are facts, realities that have to be dealt with, even if the attitude that "this is the best we can do, so deal with it" is not. The next round of disease, and the next, and the next, will bring with it demands that NAIS and et cetera be made mandatory. Eventually those demands will be listened to (and frankly it wouldn't surprise me if "outbreaks" of food-borne illnesses aren't planned for exactly that reason, for the purpose of destroying small competitors and choking out change at the grass-roots level). Write your representative... ...and then get busy doing something useful, like thinking of useful-idiot-proof ways to change current attitudes and behaviors (most of which are stupid, and deeply enculturated, enough to make a conspiracy theorist out of me).

3/12/2009 12:29:57 PM

I'd tend to agree that it would be better, far better, to simply virtually dismantle the factory farm system and revert to local production and processing. But-- is that ever going to be allowed to happen??? We all know who (or what) makes the decisions. There is a great deal of money in the factory agriculture lobby; it is going to end up making a great many of the decisions about agricultural policy. Period. If popular pressure really matters, we can get out the word and stop this mess. Unfortuantely, I suggest that what really matters is $$$$-- both to the McLeadership that is hooked on lobbyists' dollars and to the average American who cannot-- and probably will not-- fathom any other method of putting meat on the table other than the meat case at WalMart (and, having budgeted no more than about 12% of income for food because they were taught to do so, would, at the end of the day, rather have the illusion that the relatively cheap factory burger is safe than pay twice as much for the "same" product produced in a manner that is both safer and more sustainable).

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